Capitol Hill Update: Christian Coalition of America Gains Free Speech Victory

Several years ago, in the United States Capitol Building, Christian Coalition of America's (CCA) president, Roberta Combs, was part of a national press conference with the current Republican Leader of the United States Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky, opposing the newly-passed "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002."  In addition, one of the top officials of the liberal American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued against the new law.   

The BCRA prohibited so-called "soft money" which are unregulated contributions to the Republican, Democratic and other political parties.  Independent grassroots organizations, such as the Christian Coalition of America, which do not specifically advocate the election or defeat of candidates, and have not contributed directly to candidate campaigns were prohibited from offering the political parties "soft money."   The bill was actually passed by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush on March 27, 2002.   

The United States Supreme Court in September 2003 heard oral arguments against BCRA in a lawsuit brought by the Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and by groups such as the Christian Coalition of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Rifle Association and others.  They argued that the campaign finance reform law is unconstitutional.  Unfortunately, on December 10, 2003, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling which upheld the key provisions of BCRA.  

Today, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, the newest members to the Supreme Court, both appointed by President George W. Bush, joined Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas in the majority decision.  Justices Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas were in the minority in the 2003 court decision.   

The left-wing hysteria by politicians and the "mainstream" media reacting to today's decision has been astounding.  The senior United States Senator from New York actually said that today's Supreme Court decision by the Roberts Court undermines democracy, was one of the worst in American history, that it was "unAmerican," that the court has "turned back the clock by over a century," and that we will regret the day that this decision has been issued.   

What most Americans did come to regret were the infamous Dred v. Scott decision (treating slaves as property) and the Supreme Court's even more infamous Roe v. Wade decision (allowing abortion-on-demand in America)   What today's Supreme Court decision does is to expand free speech rights to more Americans.   

In response to such hysteria, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said:  "Media corporations have free speech. Why shouldn't the non-media corporations have the same rights?"  He also said in a statement with much commonsense:  "For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process.  

"With today's monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day. By previously denying this right, the government was picking winners and losers. Our democracy depends upon free speech, not just for some but for all."

It took almost 8 years, but Christian Coalition of America and other groups, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, won a hard-fought and well-deserved First Amendment victory.   

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This is very good news indeed.  A victory for the 1st Amendment.

Michael Brown

Press Secretary / Communications Director

Bill Johnson for U.S. Senate Campaign Kentucky 2010

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